wife-stepson relationship is ruining my marriage
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default wife-stepson relationship is ruining my marriage

Help me, please. I am nearly three years into my second marriage. I have no kids, but my wife has two -- a son (27) and a daughter (25). We are in our 50s. I assumed that we would have a nice life together, but I completely underestimated how "present" her kids would be in our marriage. They are both out of the house, but thanks to the cell phone, they are never gone. The daughter calls two or three times a day. Her son, who I absolutely detest, calls daily, too. The son is quite skilled in engaging my wife in every detail of his life. Both brats were at my house for the past five days (what a christmas), during which time she doted on the son as though he was a special needs child in the wilderness. I don't know whether to cry or call a divorce lawyer. I joined this forum to see if others have faced this, and how they fared. Thanks.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife-stepson relationship is ruining my marriage

Can you provide more details as to why they are "brats" other than having their mother be an active part of their life? I talk to my mother almost daily as well and go to dinner at their house every other sunday....my sister is there more often as she lives closer. Does she shove you to the side for them? Does she pay more attention to them than she does to you? How often does she actually see them in person and not just talk to them on the phone?

Need more info to give a proper opinion.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I called them brats because I consider them extremely immature and dependent on my wife. The dad flamed out (divorce) when they were teens, so my wife has been "both parents" since then and before. They have almost no relationship with him. At 27 and 25, they call her for everything, regardless of how small. It's like the cell phone is an umbellical cord. If my wife ignores the call (which is rare), she can think of nothing else until she calls them back. Same with texts.

I expected my wife to be active in their lives. I just didn't expect the definition of "active" to mean at their beck and call constantly. It's more than that. She thinks and talks about them all the time. It's like each one has a TV network that is constantly playing on a split-screen in her mind.

For example, after five days here of having his butt kissed almost non-stop, her son has already called twice since returning home. He texted to say he landed with no problem, then called to bend her ear over minutia for 20 minutes. This is after cornering her most of the day yesterday and much of last night.

Does that seem normal to you?

I realize my problem is not with the children. It's with my wife. She has been a chopper mom -- and a very aggressive one -- for 27 years.

I guess the things I am truly struggling with are (1) what is a reasonable definition of "active" and (2) can I reasonably expect her to change?
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife-stepson relationship is ruining my marriage

I guess the question I have is, If it isn't taking away from her time with you and it isn't disruptive to your relationship....why does it bug you so much. I don't know if that translates well in text. I understand you think its a bit much to be at their beck and call....but if it isn't taking her away from you, is it worth calling a divorce? Some families are just very very close. I come from one, we joke we would be the Walton's except we don't have a John Boy . After 27 years of being a Chopper mom...she's not likely to back off unless her children ask her to. She doesn't see it as problem...and apparently neither do they. It may all change when they get married...their spouses may not put up with an 'interfering' mom. I don't know...I'm not in your home to hear the calls and what they talk about. Calling to let her know you got home safe is acceptable to me if it is something they have always done. My husband's mom asks him to call when we get home from visiting them. My mom however figures if I didn't call I'm ok and I'll call if I'm in trouble. Different families...different dynamics.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks. The problem is, I do find the calls a major distraction. I'll get through it, though. Thanks again. Your kindness has been helpful.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife-stepson relationship is ruining my marriage

It's normal for them, not you.

And you know, you picked her. Did you think she was going to change who she is for you?

Not sure it is so good for you to label them as "brats" if you want to with this woman long term. Maybe you can find rapport with her kids?
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife-stepson relationship is ruining my marriage

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Originally Posted by michzz View Post
It's normal for them, not you.

And you know, you picked her. Did you think she was going to change who she is for you?

Not sure it is so good for you to label them as "brats" if you want to with this woman long term. Maybe you can find rapport with her kids?
Thanks. You are correct about the name-calling. I was still angry and reeling from the xmas visit when I posted. I definitely want to build a rapport with her son. There are no problems with my relationship with her daughter. (For the record, the xmas visit was deemed a success when compared to last christmas and previous visits.)

Background info: I am nearly two years into this marriage. The adult children were not present during the dating stage. I assumed that, since they were adults and out of the house, they would act like adults (as I understand the term) and not be very present in our marriage. ("Normal" but not excessive.) I was wrong. Apparently adolescence extends until the late 20s/early 30s now, with the Millennial generation (born in the early/mid 80s). And the cell phone enables them.

When I was a 27 year old man, I didn't call my mother daily. I loved her dearly, but still only checked in about once a week. And I didn't seek out and depend on her counsel for every decision I made. I don't expect her son to be like me, but I do expect him to act his age. I don't think that is unreasonable.

I would like to hear from other people my age (50) who are in similar situations: Childless who marry a second spouse who has adult children in their mid/late 20s. Out of the home, but always present technologically speaking.

How do you handle it when your wife disappears and "mommy" appears in her place?
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: wife-stepson relationship is ruining my marriage

How do you handle it when your wife disappears and "mommy" appears in her place?

I hate to break it to you Boss, but as a second husband her children technically outrank you. I am/was a first husband and I saw this very thing encroach into my marriage. I tolerated it and assumed that it would only be "for a season". It wasn't.

I read the term "kidaholic" somewhere, and at the time I chuckled. It's true though. Take the word "wordaholic" and swap kid for work and there you go, everything else is pretty much the same.

You can talk to her about it, but I promise you she'll regard you as selfish for having done so, and look at you hence forth as if you have a third arm growing out of your back.

I think your best "play" would be to simply up your courting, playing, and smoozing factor as her husband. It's the closest thing to actual "gravity" that you can generate in this situation, and I suggest you turn it on ASAP. It just might help to pull her "somewhat" out of an excessive orbit around her kids.

However, please try to respect the fact that her kids are obviously very important to your wife. Hell, once and awhile even encourage it. "It's crazy enough that it just might work" spanner, and a little grace goes a long way.

LIL
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